Get Your Children Happily Picking Up Toys with 3 Minutes to Spare

Your Children Happily Picking Up Toys

Getting your children involved in cleaning does NOT have to involve tears, tantrums, sulky moods, or worst of all…refusal to help.

I’ve been getting my children actively involved in clean-up times, chores, and other home management tasks for years, and not only do they participate with a good attitude, they actually enjoy it!

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I’m going to share with you my top three tips for making this happen, and if you take action, you too can have children who happily pick up their toys!

One of my best tips for getting children to happily pitch in with clean-up time is to set a small time limit. One of the hardest things for children to do is commit to doing something they don’t want to do (clean) for an unspecified amount of time.

It’s torture for them!

So, tip number one for getting your children on board is to set a small time limit (if you’re just starting out, 5 minutes is perfect), and actually using your timer to track it.

Assure your kiddos that once the timer is done, they are free to go, as long as they are cleaning up with focus and not just messing around!

If five minutes is not enough time to make a dent in the mess, then just let your kids know that you will be calling them back in another hour for another quick session.

Another technique that I use all of the time is to make cleaning a team effort. This means that everyone is involved, no slackers! Whether a child made the mess themselves is not the point. If everyone pitches in (including parents) the clean-up will create a greater impact.

In our home, family means team. Which means…if one of us is cleaning up, we’re all cleaning up!

This philosophy prevents any one family member from feeling like they are the only person who ever does any cleaning.

Tip number three is where you transform your clean-up session from drab to fab!

Turn on some fun, upbeat music! The kids’ attitudes will immediately get a boost.

Fun music will not only improve the mood during clean-up time, but it will actually help your children move faster. It’s really amazing to watch!

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In our home, we have a cleaning playlist. It includes songs from a bunch of different movie soundtracks that the kids enjoy. And generally, because a 5-minute clean-up session is only about 1.5 songs…the children actually ask for more time to continue cleaning.

Implementing these three tips into your clean-up routine will have your children happily participating in no time. None of these techniques are magic…the magic starts when you see the results in your home and children.


Ashley Buffa is an author, business owner and mother of 10  children — yes, 10! As a dedicated non-perfectionist home systems extraordinaire, she is committed to helping ALL Moms (working moms, stay at home moms, homeschooling moms, ADHD moms, and any other kind of Mom who wants a change!) realize and achieve a calm, peaceful, neat space that really feels like Home Sweet Home.


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